Mario Fux

About Fellow No 1's life

It’s great to be a part of KDE

September 15th, 2012

This is just a short blog post about a thought I had in mind right now. It’s really great to be a part of KDE. All the stuff that’s going on atm in such a great atmosphere:

And that’s just the stories I’m aware off at this small moment in life. Great to share some of my life with you KDE people and users… Thanks and cu in Randa…

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Go pledgie go – Randa Meetings status update

August 27th, 2012

First and foremost I’d like to thank all the people (anonymous and less-anonymous 😉 who already pledged some money for the Randa Meetings 2012 on our page. It’s great to have gotten so much support from our community and we’re on a good way to reach the goal of 10’000 EUR till the 21st of September 2012.

On this date we are going to start the Randa meetings of this year and therefore I’d like to give you a short overview of the status of the preparations for the meetings and what you can expect from your support and from this year’s meetings.

As it showed it’s not necessarily easy to marry, get your first child and organize a Randa meetings event in the same summer and finally my university decided that I didn’t yet finish my minor in computer sciences as I expected. But these are all the bad news and the good news follow:

Most of the people already ordered their plane or train tickets and with more of your support we can offer to pay the accommodation and the train tickets in Switzerland (from border or airport to Randa and back) for our participants. By the way we searched for quite a while to get the best and cheapest offer for these tickets so we don’t waste your money!

As at every work one needs to eat something to have energy to produce amazing things and thus I can tell you that the kitchen team is already preparing the menu for the meeting at the end of September and they actually already started to shop, prepare and cook the first meals. And I can tell you it looks good, the menu, and the meals will give you a lot of energy to go back to the computer and hack as crazy till late at nights.

The next and probably for this blog the last but most interesting information is about the groups and what they plan to do in Randa (and thus what you get back for your support soon):

  • The accessibility (a11y) group plans to work heavily on KDE (and some Gnome) applications to make them even more accessible for differently abled people. We plan to invite some blind computer users to Randa to help us testing our applications. Together with our friends from Gnome we improve the general a11y infrastructure for better inter-application work. And last but not least the GSoC student who worked on lip recognition for Simon (a speech-recognition system based on the KDE platform) will be in Randa too…
  • The KDE Education group plans to port as many of their (and where it makes sense) applications to mobile platforms and since some time Android is a new target for KDE software and thus opens a whole new eco system of tablets and mobile computers.
  • The multimedia people from Amarok, Phonon and Co plan to work on the next Amarok version, Phonon’s port to Qt5 and QML (QtQuick) and further improvements of KMix and Co.
  • And last but not least the Plasma team plans to work on the next version of the Plasma libraries (libplasma2 for and based on KDE Frameworks 5). Another bigger topic is going to be the porting of more parts of Plasma apps to QML. And we expect to see one or the other Plasma Active tablet there and thus some e.g. educational apps or multimedia software on this devices.

Another great feature of the Randa meetings is the possibility to talk with the other teams, discuss and share ideas or just chat about some thoughts during lunch or dinner (breakfast is not for talking ;-).

Some days ago I set up this years wiki page for the Randa meetings where you find up to date information of what’s happening during the meeting, links to old blog posts about the coming meetings and more interesting information.

So please go to our Pledgie page and donate and thus help us to hold yet another amazing and insanely productive series of meetings in Randa.

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Randa meetings foundation, N9 and Co

March 13th, 2012

This will be just a short blog post but at least it will be one ;-). This week first discussions will start about the creation of foundation (legal entity) for the Randa meetings. The following things are quite important for me on this:

  • To keep it alive for the next years.
  • Broaden the scope of free software communitites which can use this place.
  • Make it independent of my person (and thus make it able to to give to people working on this big organizational task at least some expense allowance (and for me to pay the diapers which I need to buy soon ;-))
  • Find more sponsors to save free software organisations (like the KDE e.V.) from costs.e
  • Involve more and more locale people, schools and industry.
  • Bring even more KDE people to Randa in the next years.

And for this I created a new internal mailing list (German only, sorry). So if you’re interested send me an email (my lastname at kde dot org) and we’ll add you to the list.

Another nice thing that happened in the last weeks was the arrival of my new N9 I got from KDE. It actually was a nice coincidence that the device arrived at the same day I officially finished my WiktionaryParser university project which I’d like to port to the N9.

As I won’t find the time in the next days to port this software and work a bit on QML frontend at least I installed all available KDE software for this nice mobile. Thus I’ll be able to demonstrate KDE software on yet another device (and to e.g. show it to potential new sponsors for the Randa meetings.

And the last thing in the post. I’ve of course already some plans for this year’s Randa meetings: My favorite focus this year would be Accessibility (a11y). I’m already in contact with a11y developers and blind users. And this year September would be the date of choise… And don’t forget to flattr me if your like what I do :-).

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Randa Meetings 2011 – Summary from an organizational point of view

December 12th, 2011

On the 1st of December it’s (was) exactly half a year since this year’s Randa meeting started. Does anybody remember that we had 5cm snow on the first day? It’s not particularly special on this time of the year  at the northern hemisphere but was quite special for the beginning of June – even for the little village in the middle of the European Alps.

In the last few weeks Randa was again topic on the KDE universe (Kdenlive release, KDE Frameworks dicussions, etc.) and as I finally finished the sponsors report German only) for the meeting I thought it’s a good time to write a summary from my side of the meetings. Following you get some general information about the meeting, some statistical data extracted from the survey and a link to a photo gallery of the meeting. Actually my last post here was on the 1st of June with some nice snowy pictures.

This year we had 57 persons in Randa of which 7 were responsible for organizational tasks and the kitchen. We had a really great kitchen team (thanks to the chief and my parents!) which had a lot of work to feed the hungry hackers. I think the chief is still surprised how much KDE people can eat ;-).

The remaining 50 persons were distributed in four and a half groups where the Platform_11 group consists of the biggest amount of people. The other groups were Nepomuk, Kate/KDevelop, Multimedia/Amarok and the last now traditional part of the Randa meetings was the Kdenlive group.

Two third of the participants answered the survey and all of them ticked off that would like to come to another meeting in Randa. General remarks as „Awesomeness“, „Rock on!“ or „Amazing!“ weren’t the exception.

Eight percent of the participants were women. The youngest attendee was 18 years old and the oldest was 69 years old. I.e. the average age was around 29 years. 68 percent of the answerers were in Switzerland for the first time in their life. With questions about the infrastructure, the food and the competence/friendliness of the organizers the last two questions got the best marks: 2.86 and 2.90 (3 was the absolute best mark and 0 the worst). The taillight of the marking were the questions about WLAN and the beds or noise generation in the house respectively. With values close above 2.50 the house, the location Randa and the food got quite good marks.

Group picture Randa meeting 2011

So what about the future of the Randa meetings. This year we had the third in a row:

But will there be a fourth one and when will it happen? As probably some of you already know my family will grow next year and thus some of the priorities in my life are changing (which is absolutely ok or better not just ok but great as B. and me happily expect to welcome this new earth being). Therefore I added to myself some preconditions which I need to fulfill (and promised my chief B. to fulfill 😉 before I start to organize the next Randa meeting.

I definitely want to happen more Randa meetings and want them to become a yearly event in Randa’s schedule. This year we wired the whole 150 years old house to have a-ready-to-use infrastructure. At the start of next year I’ll work together with some interested people to bring the Randa meetings to a better legal foundation. We plan to found a non-profit organization which will be responsible for the next meetings, finding local sponsors and supporters and things like the financial stuff or visa invitations.

Some of you probably also know one of my long term goals for the Randa meetings. I knew from the start that I wouldn’t be able to continue these meetings forever without some financial revenue in one or the other form. And thus I started in my second year of organization to find sponsors which should bring the meeting to a self-sustaining level. This year I found a bigger sponsor who probably stays for a longer time and some smaller sponsors and I could bring more than 5000 CHF to the Randa meetings and thus the e.V. didn’t need to pay the accommodation costs although they were in the planned budget. But more about this in another blog post as I still have some notes laying around since a sleepless night some weeks ago…

As this blog post got quite long and as you read till this point I’d like to give you a little gift. Here are the login credentials for the above mentioned photo gallery:

  • user: randa
  • password: randa2011!

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Happy birthday KDE

October 14th, 2011

From my side as well, all the best for the next 15 years. All the best to all you other KDE people all around this globe (and other planets).

Uncovering Project Easiness

July 30th, 2011

Next week at around this time you’ll know what this project is about. At the KDE community keynote at the Berlin Desktop Summit the idea will be uncovered and launched.

Project Easiness is the intern work name for an idea I think about since months (or even years) and on which I was working since weeks and months and next Saturday it will finally come to life. And although there is still a lot of work to be completed here are some teasers for this project:

  • With this project I want to finally solve all the problems in the universe.

Yeah, 42, i know, jokes aside. Here are the real teasers ;-).

  • With this project I want to bring even more and new users to the KDE project.
  • With this project I want to bring even more and new contributers to the KDE project.
  • With this project I want to bring something to the IT business which is IMHO badly needed.
  • With this project I want to bring something we love to people who are new to computers.
  • And this project is green.

Another conclusion of the above is of course:

And yeah I know that I didn’t blog since the first of June when the Randa 2011 meetings started when it was snowing in Randa. And last week I finally got the two last bills what means I can finally finish the administrative stuff for this year’s meeting. So next week I take some time of project Easiness and write some lines about the results of the Randa 2011 meetings. Results from the perspective of the organizational team and results from the survey we did at the end of the meetings.

Oh and there will be a BoF on Wednesday at 10:00 where you can ask questions and …

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The weather in Randa

June 1st, 2011

It’s 8:30 (am) local time and in one or two hours the first Randa 2011 meeting participants arrive here. And these are the current weather conditions ;-).

Oh and btw we’re on the northern hemisphere where in it’s normally summer at this time and three days ago it had temperatures around 25° celsius.

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Randa and how a 150 years old house can fend

May 25th, 2011

On Sunday I wrote: It’s 21:40 (or 9:40 pm) and I’m on the train back home to B. and I’m rather tired. I spent the second whole weekend in a row in Randa wiring the house. Of course this project is not just or exclusively for the Randa 2011 meeting I organize there but I think we’ll or you’ll profit as well.

And to be honest I wouldn’t start this project again. Although I learned a lot wiring a 150 years old house includes quite some surprises. 70-80cm thick walls with all kinds of ingredients, a fire alarm system which doesn’t like me and drills which not always survive their job ;-). And to be honest at this point in time I’m not that sure anymore if I really want to buy an old farm in the future and renovate it together and for my family ;-).

But there are some positive side of the medal as well. I’ve some good and very valuable helpers: a friend of the innovation departement of one of the biggest Swiss telecommunication companies, my father who is an allrounder, my mother who helped cleaning to house and Hans-Peter Seiler, a retired electrician who fixed (or better got it working) our internet connection already last year.

And last but not at all least there was and is Oliver Summermatter. You see him on the picture with a nice "little" hammer-drill. He already helped me last year at the KDE Multimedia meeting 2010 and is such a powerful guy I wouldn’t know what I should do without him!

300 meters ethernet cable, 100 RJ45 plugs, five 12port patch panels, five 10 inch network cabinets and inumerable man hours later I hope (and I’m still confident 😉 to present you the new network infrastructure. We put some considerable amount of work in this project and on Saturday we need to finish as there is another group in the house from Sunday to Wednesday next week. But I’m sure we’re going to succeed.

(PS: The owner of the house is as well a non-profit organization thus if we don’t use the infrastructure next year (what I don’t hope as I like to organize meetings for the KDE community) for another KDE meeting in Randa the work was still valuable.)

Don’t forget to flattr…

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I’m going to Randa 2011

May 17th, 2011

Ok. I’m actually almost there already ;-). But I hope you are ready to go there and you got all the emails (some people told me that the mails landed in their spam folders). Look at the kde-events archive if you’re unsure.

If you come by plane you should have received an additional email with details about the train ticket from the airport to Randa. If you didn’t get this email or still need such a ticket contact me asap (fux at the KDE servers). This is the last chance!

There is a sprint page on the community wiki where we collect information about this year’s meeting. Thus if you blog before, during or after the meeting please add your post to the community wiki page. Do the same with the picture collections you take in Randa or on the way there or back ;-).

And here is something you can use in your blog posts about the Randa 2011 meeting. Some banners done by the first year informatics trainees of the vocational school Visp (Valais/Switzerland):

Oh and btw the above mentioned sprint page is the black or information board for important information during the sprint. Read you next as I’d like to report you about our work of the last weekend: wiring the house in Randa and thus taking the house apart ;-).

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We need you for Nepomuk (integration)!

March 30th, 2011

First I’d like to thank David Vignoni for his work on the logo for the Randa meeting. It’s the basis for the work of the young informatic trainees. But the results are still secret (as even I haven’t seen anything myself but get the first results at the end of this week ;-).

And now to the ideas and proposals (btw this has nothing in common with the GSoC ideas of KDE!). As you probably or hopefully already know the KDE Nepomuk team will have a meeting in Randa this June (from the 1st to the 7th of this month) and we still want application developers to integrate this technology in their application or to work on some interesting and great new ideas. And there will be really good help as Sebastian Trüg will be in Randa and he is going to do one or the other workshop of Nepomuk basics. And here are some ideas and thoughts of mine to start your imagination engines:

  • The KDE semantic clipboard. There is some code in the old subversion playground of KDE and in December 2010 I wrote a paper about this topic. In short, this clipboard enhances to normal one with the capability of knowing what (in the context of meaning) it copy-and-pastes. This clipboard does not just copy numbers and formatting but addresses, geographic coordinates or blbliographic references. Take a look and bring it to a releasable state. There are even some solution proposals in the above mentioned paper.
  • All of the new KDE PIM application use Nepomuk technology through their Akonadi interactions.
  • Digikam had (or has?) some capabilities to exchange its information and metadata with the Nepomuk storage. What about tagging your pictures with the contacts (and PIMO::Persons) of the new Kaddressbook and projects which are then usable system wide.
  • And Amarok had (or again has?) some functions to share it’s music database with Nepomuk and thus make it system wide and not just enclosed in one applicatition.
  • But there are as well good examples for existing Nepomuk integration: Bangarang. A multimedia player which remembers what you like, what music and videos you have on your system and where is more information about this media data (in the web).
  • Another idea could be a (scientific) paper or article collector which understands the connections (or quotations) between the articles and that the strings at the top (authors) are actually persons and the references at the end of the articles are actually links and thus relations to other papers and articles. Take a look at the SWRC ontology.
  • Yet another project which extensively uses Nepomuk is the new KDE Telepathy framework. They don’t just invent yet another represenation of a person and its contacts but use PIMO::Person and thus make connections to them system wide comprehensible and reusable.
  • And let’s not forget the Plasma framework and its activities. But there is more and better information about this on the site of ivan Cukic.
  • Or something completely new. An ontology for TV series, recordings and shows… (Update: Sebastian told me that there is already one: NMM. And Bangarang and some other applications use it.)
  • And there is Zeitgeist and QtZeitgeist

Enough ideas? And last but not at all least and I almost forgot it: two ideas for plasmoids (and corresponding dataengines).

  • A person plasmoid which shows all files, documents, addresses, persons, music, pictures, etc. related to this person and if you drag and drop something to this plasmoid the things get related (and not tagged with the string of this person’s name (and if you don’t know yet the important difference, please ask as I seem to be a bad teacher and explainer then)). Imagine something like a plasmoid with the name and picture of the person and in the config some checkboxes for all related resources (documents, audio files, persons, etc.) which should be displayed in the plasmoid.
  • There is actually no second idea but an almost infinite number: more plasmoids (and dataengines) for other resources like projects, geographic locations (imagine a radar like plasmoid with resources depending on their proximity.)

I think these are some ideas and possible projects. As we want to send the e.V. board an estimated budget for Randa 2011 meeting we’d like to close the registration at the end of the this week.

And here are some more news about sponsoring and Randa 2011:

  • 200.00 CHF by a private person.
  • 500.00 CHF reducation for house renting (and thus another 500.00 CHF less for the e.V. budget).

If you have other or more ideas don’t hesitate to talk with us and do this live at the Randa 2011 meeting! For further questions just come to our mailing list.

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